Being born with a disability like deafness or cerebral palsy can be a life sentence in places like Rwanda, where the stigma and misunderstanding mean that children are often hidden away at home.
In darkness and shame.
But what if they were given the chance to shine? Who better to ask than someone with three gleaming gold medals? Our patron Sophie Christiansen has lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. She was given the chance to overcome her ‘disability’ and not let it define her. She took that chance, and her determination and talent did the rest. She now has an OBE and won triple gold at the 2012 Paralympics as a Team GB equestrian athlete.
Sophie traveled with us to Rwanda last month to see our vital work for herself. She was a guest of honour at the first ever National Deaf Children’s Sports Competition – where 14 pupils from the Deaf School we support in Musanze took part.
She also visited some of the 96 children in the region we’ve identified as living with cerebral palsy. Facilities for them are almost non-existent. So are their chances of getting a proper education and living out their own dreams of a fulfilling life.
In the race of life, some children get left behind on the start line. They don’t even get a chance to take part. With the right determination, any one of them might be a future Olympian. An immense source of pride and inspiration, not just for their family, but for a whole country.
Without that chance, we’ll never know.
Our ‘No Child Forgotten’ campaign is all about rewriting that story for some special young people in northern Rwanda. We need your help to set up Rwanda’s first dedicated facility for children with cerebral palsy, and to help the community to support it in the long run.
Help give a disabled child the chance of a proper life by